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  • President Jair Bolsonaro at a press conference in Brasilia, Brazil, March 23, 2020.

    President Jair Bolsonaro at a press conference in Brasilia, Brazil, March 23, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 26 March 2020

The far-right president hints that a regime more authoritarian than Chile's Augusto Pinochet dictatorship could be the "price to pay" due to the "chaos" that the "small flu" triggers.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro Wednesday affirmed that democracy runs the risk of “ending” if the crisis caused by the coronavirus leads to “chaos.”

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"What happened in Chile is going to be a 'trifle' compared to what can happen in Brazil. We are all going to pay a price that will take years to pay if Brazil does not emerge from democratic normality," Bolsonaro said.

"That normality that you defend so much, nobody knows what can happen in Brazil." 

These statements were made during a press conference in which journalists wanted to ask about the advance of Covid-19, which caused 57 deaths in this country in less than a week.

Although the far-right politician spoke about the disease, which he called a "little flu," his speech was focused on the collapse of the democracy that could be on the way.

"Brazilians wake up to reality... if we don't wake up to reality in a few days, I make it clear, in a few days, it may be too late... chaos appears on the horizon."

"He destroys the forest, claims the military dictatorship, denies the pandemic, and is a fascist and white supremacist. "It is like a cold. There is no need to close everything," Bolsonaro says, downplaying the significance of the coronavirus in Brazil."

Brazil’s progressive political parties, social organizations, and intellectuals reacted with outrage to the statements of former Captain Bolsonaro, who also expressed his rejection of the confinement of people in their homes because it would "paralyze" business.

"He is a dying animal in power, trying to save his last breath of life, perhaps dragging many people with him to the grave," the Lawyers for Democracy activist Jose Carlos Portella said, adding ​​​​​​​that Bolsonaro must be impeached because he has already committed various crimes.

"Bolsonaro uses the coronavirus to make an explicit threat to democracy," journalist Bernardo Mello Franco, who writes for the conservative O Globo outlet, said.​​​​​​​

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro also published a decree defining the "essential activities" that can continue to be carried out normally during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The activities that are not banned in Brazil include the meetings of the people in lottery houses and churches.

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